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How “Love Is All About Sacrifice” Ruins Our Love Lives

How “Love Is All About Sacrifice” Ruins Our Love Lives

New relationships are entrancing and consuming in both the best and worst of ways. When I was younger I would dive into a new relationship giving it everything I had. My lover was my world and I would do anything for them. Our relationship became my number one priority and everything else just fell by the wayside. Overcome with the love bug, I didn’t mind spending all of my time and effort on my budding relationships.

In my very first relationship, I became completely enveloped in my new lover. Nothing else mattered. I had no problem going above and beyond for them in order to make them happy, because seeing them happy made me happy too. I thought that by devoting myself entirely, I was paving the way for a happy and long lasting relationship.

Love is blinding. I couldn’t see the inevitable even though it was right in front of my face.

I thought my efforts would be recognized without having to ask. But when it wasn’t reciprocated, I started to become resentful. I never expressed my expectations or my reasons for getting upset. My partner couldn’t understand what changed. A total lack of communication and one-sided effort destroyed what was once a beautiful thing. That’s when I realized that I had to be more vocal about what I wanted from my relationships.

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Making Your Partner Happy at the Expense of Your Own Happiness Worsens Your Relationship

Some people are just naturally nurturing, giving individuals. I give because I want my partner to be happy. My intentions are initially pure and I don’t expect much in return. But still, I do expect something.

Other people are naturally takers. They don’t mean to be, but they’re just inherently inconsiderate. It’s human instinct to be prone to laziness. If someone is offering to take care of you, you’re going to take them up on their offer. When your partner is thanklessly giving, you fall into the habit of receiving without realizing there is an issue with giving nothing back.

In an attempt to win over the taker, givers will try to give more, hoping that their partner will catch on and feel obliged to return the favor. Relationships take sacrifice. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing your own interests and preferences to make your partner happy. Eventually your lovers priorities will supersede your own and you’ll find that you have no say in the relationship. You may even find that you lose interest in the things you once cared about, losing touch with who you truly are—the person that your partner supposedly fell for in the first place.

Love Is a Two Sided Equation

Think of a relationship as an equation. It takes two people. If only one person is giving, the relationship is one sided.

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A one sided equation looks like this: 1+0=1

The giver is 1 while the receiver is 0. When you’re not receiving anything back, you’re in this alone.

Eventually the giver is going to get burned out. Drained of all of their resources, the one-sided relationship leaves them feeling exhausted and neglected. The taker, who is used to receiving all of the spoils may not realize that there is even an issue. This imbalance will cause toxicity in the relationship and ultimately ruin it.

A balanced relationship equation should look more like this: 1+1=2

TWO! There are two people. A healthy relationship takes both people’s effort. Two people who should be giving as well as receiving.

A healthy relationship is not always 1+1=2. If the giver starts to give more, they should also be given the same more to make the love relationship make sense. So it can be 2+2=4 or 3+3=6. As long as both people are giving each other the same and putting the same effort into the relationship, it’s a balanced one.

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Creating a Equal Relationship

Your wants and needs are just as important as your partners. Having an open dialogue about your expectations for a relationship will only strengthen your bond. Just as long as your partner reciprocates. When you both understand that you both deserve an equal amount of love and respect, your relationship will flourish into a healthy partnership.

After you have established what it is that you want and expect in return, share your thoughts with your partner in a calm and reasonable manner. Encourage them to give feedback to open a balanced dialogue. Tell them what you can and cannot expect, and ask them to tell you the same.

Relationships are not all about self-sacrifice. They’re about compromise. Which does involve a level of sacrifice, but on both sides. You will gain a better understanding of each other and establish balance in the relationship. This is how you maintain the even 1+1=2 ratio.

Although you want to make your partner happy, you need to make your happiness a priority as well. If you give and give and ask for nothing in return, it will cause a poisonous trend that will eventually kill your relationship.

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Communication is key. Always keep an open dialogue with your partner about what you both except from your relationship. At the end of a failed relationship, we always regret the things that we didn’t say. Forget regret and speak up as the issues arise. You can’t be afraid to communicate your concerns with your partner. If you can’t, the relationship isn’t going to work.

I learned a lot from my first relationship. Although it ended in heartbreak, I learned a very valuable lesson. I can’t be the only one who gives. And I can’t be afraid to tell my partner if I have an issue with something. It needs to be a group effort, otherwise I’m better off standing on my own.

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on January 6, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1]University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2]Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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